Blog Entry Youth Development

The Becoming Conference: Providing a Space for Our Girls

On Saturday, June 17th, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement is proud to be a sponsor of the 2017 "Becoming Conference"! Taking place at Rutgers University, the event is designed to empower, educate and encourage young girls between the ages of 12 and 16. 

As a preview of what's to come, conference co-host and director Khristi Adams wrote about the importance of providing young women and girls of color with safe and supportive spaces to help them grow and thrive. 

As a Pastoral Counselor at the Christian Wellness Center of NJ for the past year, I've had the opportunity to counsel and journey with many people of all ages. I have particularly worked with a number adolescent girls, all with what one would consider the “typical” issues that young girls go through in their pubescent ages. 

The more I’ve worked with these girls, the more they would share with me their struggles, most of which were filled with hopelessness and despair. After thinking about it, I felt like something more needed to be done. Gratefully, Christian Wellness Center is a space that allows for creativity in addressing our clients' needs, and that hosts workshops, groups and conferences. The Becoming Conference was birthed from this need. 

On June 17th we will host The Becoming Conference at the Critelli Memorial Auditorium at Rutgers University. The Becoming Conference is designed to empower, educate and inspire girls between the ages of 12-16, and is about acknowledging the challenging process of change and growth, which every adolescent girl experiences in unique ways. The Campaign for Black Male Achievement graciously offered to serve as our title sponsor for the conference this year. Although working to improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys is at the center of CBMA’s mission, CBMA clearly sees improving the lives of young girls as integral to that mission. 

There are unique issues surrounding black and brown girls, and not a lot of spaces that center their experiences. CBMA’s partnership allows for that type of space to be created through this conference.

The Becoming Conference is open to girls of all backgrounds and ethnicities, because what we’ve found is that not only do girls have similar experiences that overlap, but there is also something to be learned from each other’s differences as well. The conference will bring together the most relatable and authentic speakers, sessions and entertainment in order for girls to have a safe and enjoyable experience. 

The phrase that “it takes a village to raise a child” has become a forgotten one. Growing up, I had the privilege of being invested in as a young person -- not just by my family, but by the community around me. I had family, teachers, mentors, pastors, neighbors and coaches all invested in some aspect of my growth. Today I am not only a product of their care, but also a product of watching how they cared for my peers. I strongly believe that we need to return to those days when it comes to our youth. 

I’m hoping that the girls attending this year's conference will leave having experienced the safety of knowing that they are not alone in their journeys, and that they have a village of women and peers to serve as a community of hope for them. I think it is our responsibility as a culture to provide spaces of healing, family, empowerment, challenge, protection and unconditional love to our girls, and it's my hope that the Becoming Conference will serve as that space.

More information on the Becoming Conference can be found here. Though tickets are currently all sold out, there is a waiting list, as well as the option to make a donation in support.


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